People to People Liaison (PTPL) works primarily with orphans and children whose parents are unable to pay school tuition in the Uvira region of Eastern Congo.
PTPL provides financial support to children who would not otherwise be able to attend school. Our resources go a long way in the Congo – $50 provides primary school annual tuition for one child aged 6-12 and $80 provides secondary school annual tuition for one child aged 13-18. Attending school often provides some stability in the life of a young person in the Congo, providing them a critical semblance of normalcy.
We also offer microcredit revolving loans to women enabling them to start or grow small businesses to support their families. $50-$200 provides a microcredit loan for a small business. Some of the entrepreneurial activities the women are engaged in are sales of various articles, like fruits, pastries, fabric, mosquito nets, beans, rice, dried fish, charcoal and used clothing. Other businesses include a pastry making venture and a small restaurant.
People to People Liaison (PTPL) was officially formed in December of 1999, with the filing of Articles of Incorporation as a nonprofit corporation with the Secretary of State of North Carolina. Bahekelwa Imatha (“Baim”) and Matumaini Furaha (“Mimi”), both natives of the Democratic Republic of Congo, signed the articles of incorporation, along with two of their friends.
Before PTPL existed, Matumaini and Bahekelwa had been helping friends and family – and particularly children – who were living as refugees as the result of a war that had been simmering in Congo since 1994 and is often described as “the war the world has forgotten”. Matumaini and Bahekelwa were especially devoted to this work because they knew that their families and friends were among the refugees. Matumaini and Bahekelwa tried to be responsive to the requests they received, but they were struggling financially themselves from the burdens of moving to a new country and trying to educate themselves.
One day, though, as Bahekelwa says in describing the background of PTPL, “then God put this idea into our heart.” The idea was People to People Liaison. Further, Bahekelwa says, “Our mission in creating People to People Liaison [was] to promote the survival, protection, and morally and spiritually healthy development of children…living with the trauma of war.” Thus PTPL was born.